Forget about the title “Best Action Director of All Time”; Michael Bay is King of the World. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is a spectacle of sight and sound, of genius and art, of expression and imagination. It is everything we hope for in a giant alien robot action movie, but pumped with steroids, marinated in Bay Sauce and stretched to infinity and beyond.
It is the sight of half a dozen towering robots who chase and punch and shoot and talk trash at each other – sometimes in that order, sometimes in a random loop, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes in a simultaneous loop in different orders, and sometimes all of the above, all the time.
It is the sound of “dialogue” written by “screenwriter” Ehren Kruger, overlapped by the kinetic clashing of metallic entities, overlapped by the crisp explosions of everything that occupies the background, overlapped by heavy things banging on even heavier things, then finally overlapped by dialogue reacting to the things overlapping the initial dialogue.
It is the genius of incorporating a “new element” in the trailer for each of the three sequels which are essentially and almost literally the same movie, where we get a stomping LEGObot in “Revenge of the Fallen”, a drilling Wormbot in “Dark of the Moon”, and finally hurtling Dinobots in “Age of Extinction”, which proven by box office records is more than enough for the price of an admission.
It is the art of sneaking countless sensual shots of sensually-dressed women in a movie I assume is meant for pre-teens, featuring not one not two but three attractive women who, despite their petite look, has more fat than talent in their body, whose names are Megan Fox, Rosie-Huntington Whitely, and Nicola Peltz, whom I imagine have all done more than just audition to get some of their roles, but I could be wrong.
It is the expression of Michael Bay’s wettest of wet dreams, which are highlighted but not limited to: the fastest of high-speed chases, the lowest of low angle shots, Robot Porn, running explosions, backflipping cars, face cannons, human-sized grenades, fire breathing, laser shooting, karate chopping, struggling actresses that need a lot “guidance” and anything that goes “Boom!” “Swoosh!” “Roar!”, and in some instances, and I’m not kidding here, “phrgpudijaihgacmlx!”
Bay’s ejaculation lasts 165 minutes, so better reserve the first row.
It is the imagination of Industrial Light & Magic, whose employees spent hundreds and hundreds of hours constructing about five Transformers with a coherent design, a spaceship that looks nothing more than a flying junkyard (no offense to junkyards) and one generic Transformer design multiplied by fifteen, then hundreds of hours of overtime were again spilled by these souls to make the Transformers destroy each in a matter of minutes, spread across by thousands and thousands of quick cuts, which will remain incomprehensible to the human eye for millions and millions of years to come.
I liked “Age of Extinction” in the sense that viewing it inspired me to revisit all of Roger Ebert’s pieces pertaining to the franchise, and reading him has always been a bliss, or a silver lining, depending on the movie. Early in my reading, I pleasantly discovered that a handful of his observations describe this particular installment so accurately that I might as well copy-paste them here. Because if there is anyone in this planet who deserves the Roger Ebert Treatment, it is Master Bay.
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.” – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
“There was no starting out slow and building up to a big climax. The movie is pretty much all climax. The Autobots® and Decepticons® must not have read the warning label on their Viagra. At last we see what a four-hour erection looks like.” – The Fall of the Revengers
“Finding success in a Michael Bay film is like finding the Virgin on a slice of toast, but less rewarding.” – Intro: “A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length”
“Those who think Transformers is a great or even a good film are, may I tactfully suggest, not sufficiently evolved. Film by film, I hope they climb a personal ladder into the realm of better films, until their standards improve. Those people contain multitudes. They deserve films that refresh the parts others do not reach. They don’t need to spend a lifetime with the water only up to their toes.” – I’m a Proud Brainiac
“Age of Extinction” has more unforgettable moments than the overrated, elitist products of last year like “12 Years a Slave”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and even “Gravity”. Consider the spellbinding moment when the self-absorbed scientist played by Stanley Tucci materializes a BEATS speaker from alien technology. And who can forget the end of the spectacular chase sequence when Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager crashes in a BUD LIGHT truck? Or how about that nail-biter when a Pterodactyl Transformer *Swooshes!* down a building and almost crush a bus that’s very clearly sponsored by VICTORIA’S SECRET? And lastly, what kind of “Transformers” movie would this be if it doesn’t have a shot of a building being torn apart with a SAMSUNG billboard watching in terror in the upper left portion of the screen?
Such masterful framing, King Bay. Although if those greedy producers weren’t choking your artistic ways, I’m pretty sure you could have included Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut, Marlboro, Apple, Sony, and Dairy Queen somewhere in your masterpiece. Quite frankly, some of your frames had “Free Space” written all over them.
Walking in the cinema, I had no idea that the 7:10PM screening I attended last Wednesday was going to be a special event. About a fourth into the film, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook the cinema for at least a full minute. Almost half of the full-house audience walked out in panic, others in caution. I stayed because (1) I’m not sure of the minimum magnitude required for a refund and (2) I really wanted to write this review in hope that someone would read this and embrace it as their silver lining.
In the instance that the earthquake was much stronger and authorities advised the audience to evacuate, I would have probably complied and walked out of the theater, but it won’t be primarily because of that damned earthquake.